USA Network announced that it would air SINBAD: BEYOND THE VEIL OF MISTS, the first-ever 3D motion-capture animated feature. The movie will premiere on Thursday, November 30, 2000 at 8 pm ET/PT. SINBAD is the tale of the legendary Sinbad and his crew, who are recruited by a beautiful princess to travel beyond the forbidden Veil of Mists in a quest for the cure to an evil spell placed on the King.
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Nickelodeon has ordered 26 additional episodes of LITTLE BILL, their daily preschool series created by Bill Cosby. BILL has scored strong rating for the network since its debut in November 1999, averaging a 7.9 rating/36 share among kids 2-5. Since airing on CBS' Saturday morning block in September, the series has averaged a 4.1 rating/16 share for Viacom-owned CBS. BILL chronicles the daily discoveries of an inquisitive 5-year-old, voiced by Xavier Prichett. The voice cast also includes Gregory Hines, Phylicia Rashad and Ruby Dee.
On October 31, 2000, Missouri Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Dierker threw out the US$24.5 million judgment against Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, originally awarded to former hockey player Tony Twist in July. Twist had sued McFarlane for unauthorized use of his name in the comic book series SPAWN.
The London Effects and Animation Festival handed out its awards at a ceremony on November 14, 2000. DreamWork's GLADIATOR, with visual effects by Mill Film, took home the prize for best effects feature, beating out DINOSAUR and the TV miniseries ARABIAN NIGHTS. The works were judged by a panel of industry experts, media buyers and trade media. The awards kicked off the three day event, which will include screenings, panel discussions, presentations and a sneak peek at PDI and DreamWork's new 3D animated feature SHREK. Below is a complete list of this year's winners.
Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) (WDIG) has promoted Erik Flannigan to senior VP of non-Disney-branded entertainment Websites. Previously, Flannigan served as VP of MrShowbiz.com, Movies.com and Wall of Sound. In his new position, Flannigan will continue to be responsible for those three sites as well as ABC.com and Oscar.com. He will relocate to Los Angeles from Seattle. Flannigan joined MrShowbiz in 1995 as an associate editor. Before joining Mr.Showbiz, Flannigan was managing editor of the music publication ICE and senior editor at the Rocket, an independent music newspaper in Seattle.
Montreal television producer TVA International has decided to decrease its production of primetime TV content and focus on animation and international distribution. As part of the move, the company cut 20 jobs and its head of longform production, Jacques Methe, resigned. The company said it would continue to distribute primetime productions worldwide, but would stop producing them. In addition, TVA Intl. announced its has signed a three-year pact with Studio Canal + to distribute the French production house's films in Canada. The deal is said to be worth several million dollars. TVA Intl.
Cinesite the visual effects arm of Kodak, has named Michael Fink as their senior visual effects supervisor. Fink's visual effects supervisor credits include WAR GAMES, THE SEVENTH SIGN, BRAVEHEART, LETHAL WEAPON 4 and X-MEN. He earned an Oscar nomination for BATMAN RETURNS in 1993. Fink led a start-up venture, Warner Digital Studios, for Warner Bros., in 1995. The full service visual effects shop had a 150 staff at its peak. They created visual effects for BATMAN AND ROBIN, ERASER, MARS ATTACKS, CONSPIRACY THEORY and CONTACT.
Over the past week at the international box office, DreamWorks' WHAT LIES BENEATH and Miramax's SCARY MOVIE have fought it out for global wealth. In the U.K., WHAT LIES over took the top spot by grossing US$2.98 million, thus pushing its 3-week U.K. cume to $12.28 million. Dropping 64% in its fourth full week, DINOSAUR fell to fourth in the U.K., with a gross of $1.44 million, escalating its cume to $17.44 million. In seventh, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE grabbed $670,689, growing its U.K. cume to $4.52 million. In Australia, WHAT LIES BENEATH's debut claimed first place with a gross of $1.72 million.
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X-MEN director Bryan Singer is in early talks with Fox to take the helm of the X-MEN sequel. When signing onto the first film, the original cast, which included Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, agreed to return for up to two sequels. The talks may be just a matter of ironing out financial terms, for Singer said going into the first picture he was interested in developing the film into a franchise. A start date and how Singer will work around his prior directorial commitments are yet to be announced. X-MEN has grossed US$157.2 million in the States alone.
Sony Corp. has announced that it's cutting its initial U.K. shipment of PlayStation 2 gaming consoles from 200,000 to 165,000 units. The cut-back is due to a computer chip shortage, which also led to Sony halving its originally projected 1 million unit shipment to the U.S. Arriving in the U.S. on October 26, the next generation console made an estimated $165 million in its first 72 hours of release. In addition, PlayStation 2 has sold approximately 3.5 million units in Japan since its release there in March.
AtomFilms has signed a deal with Century Theatres to screen six short films before each feature showing at the newly opened CineArts 6 in Evanston, Illinois. This move is part of Atom's plan to spur other theater chains to start screening shorts. The screenings also provide eligibility for the short subjects to be nominated for the Oscar, which could gain even more exposure for Atom and its film library. Harry Warren, AtomFilms' VP of broadcast and theatrical distribution, said, "AtomFilms strives to provide the best exposure for its talented filmmakers.
On Saturday, November 11, 2000, ASIFA-Hollywood held their 28th annual Annie Award ceremony. This year's big winner was TOY STORY 2 with five awards, including the nod for outstanding theatrical feature. Emmy Award winners Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, the voices of the now infamous Warner Bros. duo Pinky and the Brain, hosted the ceremony. For television, MICKEY MOUSEWORKS and the special OLIVE, THE OTHER REINDEER both tied with two prizes each. In addition, last year's winner for outstanding primetime show, THE SIMPSONS, took home the award once again.
At this weekend's U.S. box office, CHARLIE'S ANGELS held back the debut of Adam Sandler's LITTLE NICKY, which has the comedian playing the Devil's son. ANGELS kicked in another US$24.61 million. The sexy super-agent flick, with primary visual effects by Flash Film Works, has seduced $75.01 million in just 10 days. LITTLE NICKY, with primary visual effects by VisionArt, Pixel Magic and Rhythm & Hues, had to settle for second with a gross of $16.06 million. Having its release date pushed from the heavy effects laden summer, Warner Bros.' RED PLANET still had a disappointing debut in fifth.
Cinanima 2000 finished its week of screenings with the presentation of its awards on Sunday, November 12, 2000. This year's grand prizewinner was Michel Dudok Wit's FATHER AND DAUGHTER, which also won the Alves Costa Award given by journalists at the festival. In two categories the international juries awarded ties. Paul Driessen's THE BOY WHO SAW THE ICEBERG and Florence Miailhe's AU PREMIERE DIMANCHE DAOUT both took the Class B Prize for best film between 7 and 21 minutes and Mark Van Der Maarel's THE PINBOARD and Vários' DADDY AND I took home the best first film award.
Pixar Animation Studios has started production on FINDING NEMO, its fifth CGI collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. The studio described the film as an underwater adventure about a father who must find his kidnapped son. Andrew Stanton (co-director of "A Bug's Life") had been tapped to write and direct the project. The film is scheduled for a summer 2003 release, which would be the first for a Pixar 3D-animated picture. However, Disney's traditionally animated feature LILO & STICH is scheduled for release around the same time.
Imax has canceled plans to release DreamWorks' 3D feature SHREK on 150 giant screens. Apparently, increased costs associated with creative changes at DreamWorks have led to Imax abandoning the project. Last month, Imax's stock dropped 70% after the company reported an earnings loss warning for the quarter. This project originally looked like a promising financial boost for Imax (and the distribution of animation) after their big success with the release of FANTASIA/2000. SHREK is scheduled to arrive in regular theaters on May 18, 2001.
Walt Disney has added a new series, featuring Mickey Mouse and Disneys full roster of characters, entitled DISNEY'S HOUSE OF MOUSE to its 2001 ABC "Disneys One Saturday Morning" lineup. Roberts Gannaway and Tony Craig will executive produce DISNEY'S HOUSE OF MOUSE. The writer-animator team was responsible for returning Mickey Mouse to cartoon shorts with the 1999 premiere of DISNEYS MICKEY MOUSEWORKS, whose crew will mostly make up the talent on the new series.
Das Werk, a leading German provider of digital processing services, announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire a majority stake in Glassworks, a London digital effects studio which combines 3D computer-generated imaging with high-end compositing and special effects. In purchasing a share of Glassworks, Das Werk will further expand its international portfolio of post-production facilities and gain a hold in the high-profile London advertising and music video market.
Aaronson Ltd. is seeking an EDITORIAL CARTOONIST for mid distribution start-up newspaper. . . Aileron, Inc. is looking for a CONTENT WRITER for a new Internet site focusing on cutting-edge cartooning technology. . . Sioux Falls, South Dakota's Animation Factory, a leading destination for animated clipart and media for Internet and multimedia presentations, is looking for 3D MODELERS/ANIMATORS. . . Aristocrat, a gaming software industry leader, is looking for a GAME DESIGNER, GRAPHIC ARTIST, SOUND ARTIST and VIDEO GRAPHIC ARTIST at their newest location in Tucson, Arizona. . .
Pierre Jacquier, who served as president of the Annecy Festival from 1977 to 1984, has passed away after a long illness. Jacquier was instrumental in the festival's growth and helped push the festival toward highlighting cutting-edge work in animation. Along with Nicole Salomon, Jacquier also helped establish the festival's market. In addition to his festival duties, he was a board member of the Annecy Town Council. AWN's Annick Teninge, former assistant director of Annecy, said, "I always admired his long-term vision, his dedication to the festival and his immense cultural appreciation.
November 14-16, 2000 the 7th annual London Effects & Animation Festival (LEAF) will once again showcase some of the best achievements of the past year in computer-generated animation and special effects...
The Holland festival will be held in Utrecht, November 15-19, 2000. Besides the official competition for Independent Short, Applied Animation and Student Films in Belgium & The Netherlands, this year the festival will offer a variety of retrospectives and special programs.